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In the classic baseball movie, “Field of Dreams,” the spirits of ballplayers return to an earthly diamond to play the game they loved and to give back to their fellow man.
The spirit of such giving lives on here in Bedford. The Terry Witt Memorial Scholarship was recently awarded to Liberty graduate Matt Kerr.
The scholarship is named for a former Minuteman baseball player and was awarded to another.
Witt, who played second base for Jim Cutler, graduated from Liberty in 1986. He passed away that August, due to injuries sustained in a car accident. That mishap, which took place near Northside Supply, was a single-car accident which injured three other occupants of the vehicle.
“He loved life and lived it to the fullest,” said Witt’s mother, Kathy Witt.
The scholarship was set up to recognize a Liberty graduate who excelled on the ballfield while maintaining high moral standards, according to Witt.
She, her family and friends were able to fund the scholarship. Kerr will receive $2,000 per year, money that will come in handy as he begins his college days at Christopher Newport University this fall.
“Terry was a hard-nosed competitor,” said Stewart Grant, who played baseball with Witt at Liberty. “He was very tough and hated to lose.”
Grant was a pallbearer at Witt’s funeral.
“Matt exemplifies everything they wanted for a selectee for this scholarship,” said Grant of Kerr, who he coached in baseball at Liberty. “It means that Matt has been successful in the classroom and outside of school.”
That business of being successful outside of school is key. “Off the field, Terry would bend over backward to help any of his teammates out,” noted Grant.
Indeed, Kathy Witt recalled a point where she noticed that her family was going through groceries in an unusually rapid fashion. Some investigation on her part uncovered the fact that Terry was feeding some of his less-fortunate teammates in the time between class and practice. “Oh, so that’s what happened to my groceries,” she thought at the time.
“It’s an honor to get the award, because Mrs. Witt described her son as a well-rounded young man with great things in his future,” said Kerr. “Perhaps I can accomplish some of those same things as I go through life.”
“I think this is something that Terry would approve of,” said Witt. “I wanted a strong hook into something Terry loved.”
Unlike the movie, there’s no sentimental or syrupy ending to this story. There’s just one baseball player being helped out by the family and friends of another. And, in its own way, that is a sort of field of dreams in itself.